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Did Obama Just Destroy the Internet?

Did Obama Just Destroy the Internet?

Tech writer David Kirkpatrick was aiming to get your attention with his column "Did Obama Just Destroy the U.S. Internet Industry?" Kirkpatrick appeared on The Daily Ticker to provide his answer: Maybe.

The drama surrounding the NSA’s once-secret surveillance program of phone records and emails has unleashed a wave of worry about privacy issues for Americans. But those concerns miss a bigger possible fallout.

“The reality is all these great American [Internet] companies are global companies,” says Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect” and founder and CEO of Techonomy. “They have to be extremely conscious of the way they are perceived globally. They will be perceived more now than before as instruments of U.S. policy and the U.S. government. That is potentially very problematic.”

Related: NSA Head Says Spy Programs Thwarted Terror Attacks

More specifically, companies like Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG) could face “dramatically slower global growth” as a result of their cooperation with the NSA program, Kirkpatrick writes in a recent LinkedIn (LNKD) column.

That may explain why Google, as well as Facebook and Microsoft (MSFT) according to The New York Times, are asking the US. government for permission to disclose information about the size and scope of the national security requests they received from the NSA. Google even made public a letter by its chief legal officer to NSA officials.

Kirkpatrick says he’s already hearing about some backlash against U.S.-based cloud computing.

“There’s a business concern,” says Kirkpatrick. “If businesses are all moving to the cloud, which we would generally argue is the case, then many foreign customers who already are having a lot of reservations about U.S.-based cloud computing will have more reservations.”

Related: Is NSA Leaker Edward Snowden a Hero or a Traitor?

NSA Director Army General Keith Alexander defended the agency before a Senate committee on Wednesday, saying the agency's surveillance programs have prevented dozens of terrorist attacks (he did not provide specific examples). Watch the video above to see the debate that erupts between Kirkpatrick and The Daily Ticker's Lauren Lyster and Henry Blodget.

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